Monitor 2021 Women’s List: Jennifer Schmidt

by Monitor Staff Nov/Dec 2021

Jennifer Schmidt,
Executive Vice President and Chief Portfolio Officer,
Pawnee Leasing

Jennifer Schmidt has been working in the equipment finance industry for more than 21 years. She started as a collector and was then promoted to repossession specialist, gaining knowledge and experience that provided her opportunities to join the management team. She became a supervisor, then a manager and is now the chief portfolio officer at Pawnee Leasing.


“It is my professional mission to be the best individual that I can be by continuing with self-growth, advocat[ing] for my team, provid[ing] support and work[ing] together to accomplish organizational objectives. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by amazing leaders and learn [from] the best in our industry. They believed in me … And I hope to do the same for others.”

In this role, Schmidt oversees the portfolio servicing department, which covers a wide array of areas, including customer service, insurance, early-stage collections and late-stage and legal collections. She has seen and experienced the ups and downs that come with servicing a diversified portfolio, and she and her team successfully managed the portfolio through the Great Recession and are now doing so through the COVID-19 pandemic. She attributes her success to the leadership and mentors within the executive management team of Pawnee Leasing and the Chesswood Group, as their expertise and style is crucial to Schmidt’s professional development.

Schmidt never shies away from a challenge and hits complex issues head on. She has expanded and developed her team over the years by improving inefficiencies to establish outstanding customer service and ensure the company’s core values are achieved each and every day. Schmidt is committed to the success of the company and her team and looks for opportunities to improve performance and operations. She has also been active in launching new technology that has improved portfolio performance and enhanced customer communications.

“Jennifer has been part of Pawnee’s longstanding four-person ‘executive leadership team’ that has built Pawnee from a $100 million organization [that] will surpass $1 billion in 2022,” Gary Souverein, president of Pawnee Leasing, says. “Jennifer is a casebook study in leadership. Her ability to lead Pawnee’s complex servicing operations of prime to sub-prime credits and almost 50 staff is centered on her 20-plus years of experience growing up and leading Pawnee’s diverse servicing operations. Jennifer is a consummate professional, innately organized, and her driven, modest, dependable style earns her immediate respect of her team. Few individuals have come through our almost 40-year organization and have made so many profoundly positive impacts on not only our results and operations, but more so on our employee team.”

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